Pollution has many forms, most of which are anthropogenic, in other words originating from human activity. Because of the ongoing need for natural resources by humans, the earth’s surface is steadily being altered as a result of globalisation. And it’s getting polluted in the process.
The standard of living has increased, but new problems have emerged that have an increasing impact on our health and the environment.
“Pollution is the introduction of harmful substances (or energy) into the environment and living organisms.”
Not only the chemical substances like smog and dust cause pollution. Sound, heat, and light can also contribute to some pollution. The substances that cause pollution are called pollutants.
The world’s subtle ecological balance can be disrupted by even the tiniest levels of pollution. And it is possible for these pollutants to make their way up the food chain & finally reach the human body.
Pollution can be created by natural events like forest fires or by human activities like cars, nuclear wastes, factories, etc. These are further classified as follows:
- Air Pollution
- Water Pollution
- Soil Pollution
- Noise Pollution
Other types of pollution include light, thermal, and radioactive. This last variety is the most lethal, but fortunately rare.
Chemicals, poisonous gases, biological molecules, and other pollutants are released into the atmosphere every day. These pollutants are harmful and can cause major health consequences.
Some Causes Of Air Pollution Include:
- Mining operations
- Burning fossil fuels
- Industrial and factory exhaust emissions
The impact of pollution varies depending on the pollutant. Generally, the effects of air pollution are:
- Risk of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases
- Risk of skin disorders
- Increase of cancer risk
- Global Warming
- Acid Rain
- Ozone depletion
- Wildlife dangers
Among other pollutants, air pollution is thought to have global implications. Scientists have even predicted an apocalyptic situation where unmanaged air pollution can cause a runaway greenhouse effect. While this is sheer speculation, it is believed to have occurred on Venus.
Lake, river, and sea pollution occurs when hazardous contaminants and particulate matter are introduced into water bodies. People import these toxins through faulty sewage treatment & oil spills. However, natural processes like eutrophication can also pollute water.
Water Pollution Can Also Be Caused By:
- Solid wastes dumped in water
- Disposing untreated sewage into water
- Animal and Human Waste
- Pesticides and fertilisers in agricultural runoff
Water contamination has a significant impact on our environment. Toxic substances can also bioaccumulate in living organisms, eventually reaching humans.
Water pollution has the most harmful effects on humans of any other sort of pollution. For example, in 1932, severe water contamination left a Japanese city’s residents afflicted with neurological and mental illnesses for decades. The primary cause was not known but was later linked to acute mercury poisoning. Methylmercury was discharged into the bay and bio-accumulated in the local fish. The local inhabitants subsequently ate these fish, causing grave illnesses and neurological problems.
Other Water Contamination Effects Include:
- Ecosystem disruption
- Marine life threats
- Waterborne illness risk increased
- Increasing hazardous substances like mercury in water
Soil pollution is the degradation of land caused by chemicals and other man-made pollutants in the soil. The xenobiotic compounds change the soil’s natural composition and have a negative impact.
These can directly or indirectly change your life. For example, plants will absorb hazardous substances from the soil. Because plants generate food, it moves up the food chain.
Soil contamination has less visible consequences than other kinds of pollution, but its repercussions are as dangerous. The best way to reduce it is to use best waste management practices in discarding residential and industrial waste with a dumpster rental.
Common Sources Of Soil Pollution Include:
- Bad industrial waste disposal
- Acid rain induced by air pollution
- Mining activities
- Intensive farming and pesticides like fertilisers & pesticides
Soil contamination has many implications. Specific wastes, like radioactive waste, become very dangerous. An example is the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which rendered a 2,600 km2 area uninhabitable over several thousand years.
Soil Pollution Causes:
- Loss of soil nutrients affects the indigenous flora and fauna in the soil.
- Increased soil salinity degrades plants.
- Toxic dust like silica dust can cause lung cancer.
Noise pollution is excessive noise that disturbs the natural balance. Noise pollution is usually man-made, though natural disasters like volcanoes can cause it as well.
Any sound over 85 dB is deemed harmful to humans and some animals. The duration of exposure also has an effect on health. An average conversation is roughly 60 dB, whereas a jet taking off is about 150 dB. So noise pollution is much more notable than other pollution.
Noise Pollution Causes:
- Construction Noises
- Heavy machines, mills, industries, etc.
- Noises from trucks, planes, etc. Social event noise like loudspeakers, firecrackers, etc.
- Noises at home such as TV, mixers, washing machines, etc.
Noise pollution is becoming more widespread as cities and industries grow.
The Effects Of Noise Pollution Are:
- Sleeping Disorders
- High BP